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August 2004

In This Issue:







USU Alumni Spotlight - Michael Christiansen - International Performer and Director of Guitar Studies

Mike started playing the guitar at age six.  By the time he was sixteen, he was performing in the Provo area with a local band and teaching private students at Herger Music. After graduation from Provo High School, Mike visited the Utah State University campus where he was awarded a scholarship in guitar.  This was especially unique because, at the time, there was no guitar program at USU.  However, he accepted the scholarship and performed with the USU performing group, The Youngtimers.

While attending USU and after graduating, Mike continued performing with various groups and musicians including USU Music Professor, Larry Smith.  He was performing for receptions, dances and concerts...

New USU Living Center Unveiled
The ongoing facelift of Utah State’s campus continues with the start of construction on a new living/learning community to be located at the north end of Old Main Hill.  The project, which began with the demolition of the old steam heating plant, will consist of five residence halls and one community center.  The five residence halls will be four-level structures and collectively house 512 students.

Keith Bennett of KCB Architecture, the firm constructing the buildings, pointed to Old Main as the main inspiration for the design plan.  “The living/learning community will be a modern expression of the Romanesque style of Old Main.  This way each building will look and feel more like a home, instead of just another building on campus.”

The hope is that this new community will help to re-energize campus by keeping students close to the Taggart Student Center even after classes are over.  “The residents of the new living/learning community will increase the business and energy to the student center and be more involved in events that take place on campus, making it more attractive to students who don’t live in the living/learning community as well,” explained Whitney Milligan, assistant director of Residence Halls/Residence Life.

In addition to the community, a 603-car parking garage will also be built for students, faculty, and visitors. Completion of the project is slated for summer 2006.

Aggie Wins Gold at Transplant Games
They may not be the Olympics, but the National Kidney Foundation’s U.S. Transplant Games are no less important to the competitors and their families.  USU’s own Mike Strauss was one of the 20-member team representing Utah at the event.  When all was said and done, Strauss brought home a gold and two bronze medals from the competition.

Strauss, the Utah State University athletics director of media relations, received a life-saving liver transplant two-and-a-half years ago.  At the Games, which took place in Minnesota at the end of July, he won gold in the golf competition and bronze as part of Team Utah’s basketball squad.

The real victory was the fact that the almost 2,000 athletes were there at all.  Participants in the Transplant Games have been the recipients of life-saving organ transplants.  Held every two years, the event seeks to celebrate the second chance these people have received, as well as raise awareness for the countless others still awaiting transplants.

Name the Newsletter Contest Winner
The votes are in from the Alumni Executive Board and results have been tallied.  Thank you everyone for your great suggestions.  Without any further ado, the new name for the Alumni eNewsletter is… Aggie Insights.  The winner is Ellen Davis from Lancaster, PA.

Congratulations to the winner!  The new newsletter name design will appear in next month’s issue.

David B. Haight Dies at 97
The world lost a great man, and Utah State University lost a great friend in the passing of Elder David B. Haight.  Elder Haight died in the early morning on Saturday, July 31.  He was a distinguished USU alumnus and the namesake for the David B. Haight Alumni Center.  Elder Haight was 97 years old.

For more information of Elder Haight, visit www.usu.edu/alumni/hist5.html.

Back to the Buzzer


Utah State University Alumni Relations sponsors many exciting events throughout the year. To keep informed about the most current ones, visit www.usu.edu/alumni/events.html often.


HASS - Homecoming Weekend
The College of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences is inviting all HASS alumni back to campus for homecoming weekend.  The department has planned a host of unique and entertaining activities for all alumni and their families.   The festivities are set to take place on Friday, October 8 and Saturday, October 9, so mark your calendars.  Events will include:

  • HASS classes open to alumni
  • Gala reception, complete with art exhibits, poetry readings, tours, faculty book signings, and more
  • Concerts
  • Theatre Department performances
  • The Homecoming Dance
  • Parades
  • Great food
  • The USU vs. North Texas football game, with reserved, half-price tickets for HASS alumni

Discounted rooms have been set aside for HASS alumni at the Comfort Inn in Logan.  Reservations can be made by calling (435) 752-9141 and asking for the HASS alumni rate.

Come and enjoy a beautiful fall weekend on campus as you reconnect with old friends.  For more information, call Victoria Dutson at (435) 797-0178 or email her at vic.dutson@usu.edu.

Chapter News

Las Vegas Aggie Chapter
Make sure you mark your calendars for the 2nd Annual Aggie Las Vegas Weekend coming this September 24 & 25 at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino.  The festivities kick off Friday evening with the Aggie Scholarship Banquet.  Come enjoy great food and great friends, as well as a raffle and auction.

The Golf Tournament begins Saturday morning at the gorgeous Silverstone Golf Club in Las Vegas.  Register by September 3 to play.  Following the tournament, have some fun at the Aggie Tailgate Party before the USU vs. UNLV game begins that evening.  All the proceeds from the events provide scholarships for students attending Utah State University.

For all the details, contact USU Alumni Relations at (435) 797-2055, (800) 291-ALUM (2586), or alumni@cc.usu.edu.

Tooele County Aggie Chapter
The Utah State Alumni Association and Tooele County Aggie Chapter would like to invite all Aggies and their families to join them Saturday, August 21, for the Aggie Family Pool Party.  The fun begins at 1:00 p.m. at the Deseret Peak Complex.  Admission is only $2 with a discount pass.  Just follow the Aggie banner to the North Pavilion to pick up your discount pass, enjoy free Aggie ice cream, and enter to win great Aggie prizes.

For all the details, contact Sydnie or Kalem Sessions at (435) 843-9534.

Weber County Aggie Chapter
Don't forget to sign up for the Weber County Aggie Chapter Golf Tournament at the Schneiters Riverside Golf Course in Ogden.  Tee time is 1:00 p.m. on August 21, with a full barbecue dinner at 6:00 p.m.  The cost is $50 per person (includes golf, cart, and barbecue), or $15 per person for just the barbecue. 

For more information, contact Willie Duersch at (801) 776-2209.

Young Alumni Association
The USU Young Alumni Association is actively involved in sponsoring and participating in events that benefit the community and the University.  The most recent event sponsored by the Young Alumni Association was a service project at The Road Home shelter in Salt Lake City. 

The Road Home is a homeless shelter for children and families.  This spring, young alumni volunteers hosted an Aggie ice cream party for the families at the shelter.  The event was a great success.  Everyone (including the volunteers) enjoyed delicious Aggie ice cream, games, balloons, and prizes.  Not only did the young alumni volunteers donate their time and energy by hosting the event, they also brought toys, diapers, and books to donate to the shelter.  It was a great opportunity for USU young alumni to interact with each other while serving the community. 


Aggie Thrower Earns a Spot In Athens
James Parker was the favorite in the men’s hammer throw at the recent U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, and he didn’t disappoint.  His throw of 254 feet, 6 inches was good enough to win the competition and earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.

Parker was a standout athlete while attending Utah State University, finishing seventh at the 2000 Olympic Trials.   After graduating in 2001 with a degree in Physical Education, he went to work for the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Malmstrom AFB in Montana.  Thanks to the Air Force’s World Class Athletes Program, Parker was given time off to train and represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games.

The Athens 2004 Olympic Games will officially begin on August 13.

New Softball Coach Chosen
Utah State Softball will be seeing an old face in a new position this year.  Director of Athletics Randy Spetman chose former Assistant Coach Lonny Sargent to take over the head coaching spot.  Sargent’s promotion follows the resignation of former Head Coach Deb Bilbao.

“We are excited we were able to keep Lonny at Utah State,” said Spetman.  “We feel he has the ability to take our softball program to the next level.”

Sargent has coached softball for more than 15 years, from high school all the way to the Division-1 college level.

Women's Volleyball Announces 2004-05 Schedule
USU Volleyball is set to take on the best the NCAA can dish out this year. The Aggies will go up against 10 teams that participated in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The season begins September 3 against national powerhouse Stanford.

To see the complete 2004 Volleyball schedule, visit http://utahstateaggies.collegesports.com/sports/c-volley/spec-rel/071904aaa.html

Check out utahstateaggies.com for the latest news and information about Aggie Athletics.

Travel Opportunities

London BridgeEngland and Scotland
October 21-29, 2004
Thrill to the sights and sounds of London and the surrounding area with this exciting package. Planned tours include Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Stratford Upon Avon, a night at the theatre and much more.  You may also extend your vacation with an optional tour in Scotland at the end  of our London adventure! Prices begin at $1369.00 (land only).

Panama Canal Cruise
February 6-15, 2005
Sail aboard the Coral Princess to visit the ports of Limon, Grand Cayman, Belize and Cozumel and marvel at the wondrous Panama Canal on the 10-day adventure.

Branson, Missouri
May 10-15, 2005
Enjoy the excitement of Branson, Missouri while seeing shows by Andy Williams, the Sons of the Pioneers, the Osmonds and more. An optional extension is also offered, visiting the historical sites of Nauvoo (extension dates: May 15-18, 2005).
Norwegian Fjords Cruise
July 19-August 9, 2005
This 7 day cruise departs Copenhagen, Denmark and visits Norwegian ports including Flam, Bergen, and Oslo while also sailing the beautiful fjords.
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